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Aug 26, 2008 04:48 PM

Dinner near the Biltmore

I'm staying at the Biltmore and looking for a fabulous place for dinner. I've been to Spago and was only modestly impressed (I prefer French Laundry, Alex & Alinea). While in L/A I'm eating at Patina, Melisse, Providence & Sona. I have two more nights to book. I don't necessarily need fancy - just amazing food, whether it's Thai, Mexican, American or whatever. Any suggestions?

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  1. I think L.A.'s strength isn't in its fine dining.... L.A. excels at hole-in-the-wall dining.

    Little Tokyo is near you. Try Izayoi (213) 613-9554 and Raku (213) 625-1751.

    San Gabriel Valley (a bit east of downtown) has really good Chinese food. Try Mei Long Village (626) 284-4769.

    But if you still want to be dazzled by the high-end: Try Urasawa (Beverly Hills) (310) 247-8939 - reservation is a must.

    1. Next door to the Biltmore is Water Grill, probably one of the best seafood restaurants in Los Angeles.
      544 S Grand Ave
      Los Angeles, CA 90071
      (213) 891-0900

      6 Replies
        1. re: monku

          The obvious choice. But personally, I don't think it's "amazing." I think it's what you expect from an expensive contemporary-American restaurant. I haven't had any amazing food downtown.

          1. re: aventinus

            I agree, Water Grill hasn't been amazing in some time (since that guy Michael left.) It's still good and such a great room. I enjoy it most at the bar having raw bar items.
            Izayoi IMO is one the best culinary experiences downtown. Not fine dining but some amazing creative dishes. Sushi Gen at the bar can be very good, and Kappo Ishito in Weller Court.

            1. re: cls

              For ordering a la carte, I actually prefer Water Grill to Providence.

              Also want to add that I think their pastry chef may be one of the most underrated in town.

              1. re: cls

                I disagree.

                For Water Grill, I think LeFevre is a better suited than Cimarusti.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  My last couple of meals there have been off. Overly salted and a couple dishes that just didn't work. I appreciate the creativity of the menu but it's a bit inconsistent. The red velvet pudding on the other hand, is worth the trip.

          2. For Thai, get thyself to Jitlada in Thaitown on Hollywood Blvd. between Vermont and Western. Besides the usual fare, which they execute quite well, they specialize in southern Thai cuisine, with a separate page on the menu for those items. Search this board -- there have been a couple of discussions regarding Jitlada recently including at least one detailed and thorough review. If it is one of the proper nights of the week, follow dinner with the unique Thai Elvis at Palm Thai not too far away.

            Also just a bit west of downtown, along Olympic and a few blocks north between Vermont and Western, is Koreatown. Search this board for Korean BBQ places -- the favorite these days seems to be Park, which seems to have exceeded Soot Bull Jeep in the last few years.

            Some of the best regional Chinese food in the country is found east of downtown in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). You might want to try Chung King for their famous pork pump, one of the numerous noodle or XLB places, or a Chinese seafood palace. Scroll down or search this board for some threads featuring reviews by exilekiss, use the link to get to his blog, and follow up on some of the knowledgeable responses and you can quickly get numerous recommendations for the best the region has to offer.

            For Mexican I like cheap authentic independent taquerias for lunch rather than dinner. Just north of Chinatown downtown on North Broadway at 19th is my favorite, Carnitas Michaocan -- good carne asada, better al pastor sliced from a spit, and the best salsa roja ever. Just west of downtown on Pico is El Parian, which looks closed, dark and deserted but really is open -- perhaps the best carne asada, and excellent birria (goat). On the east side of Little Tokyo downtown, and accessible on the DASH van system, is Senor Fish for fish tacos and even better crispy shrimp or scallop tacos. And right in the heart of downtown on Broadway between 3rd and 4th is the Grand Central Market, which besides all of the stalls selling produce and other food has two or three stands (Ana Maria's, Roast2Go, at least one other I never remember) that offer huge tacos with carnitas that is tender, succulent and drippy juicy delicious.

            You've already tried and have scheduled some of L.A.'s top high-end restaurants; as mentioned above our true strength are the little inexpensive ethnic places. Please report back.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nosh

              Thanks for all the suggestions! We're in LA and have had excellent meals so far at Patina (the risotto with white truffles was AMAZING) and the Water Grill (grilled caesar with shrimp, barmundi and flan all were excellent). Wokcano was disappointing - we were desperate for a lunch spot when we arrived on Sunday and this was a recommendation from our hotel concierge. The food was greasy - a step above fast food.